John Day Reviewby The Daily Eye Team September 13 2013, 12:32 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 11 secs
There has emerged a relatively new breed of cinema lately, the corruption thriller. Veering away from the highly dramatized and sensationalized, which is the bread and butter of the industry; these films use stark realism and social commentary to awaken audiences to the grey manner in which our nation operates. And for that we salute Ahishor Solomon, for going against the tide in his directorial debut: “John Day”.
Naseeruddin Shah continues to delight audiences with his ease of adaptability to roles. His interpretation of a bank manager on the path to avenge the death of his daughter is truly compelling, as his conviction and determination resonates with the audience as they live out every twist and turn in perfect synchronicity with the pace of the character’s heart. Other performances fluctuated around mediocrity. Randeep Hooda however, struggled in his portrayal of a corrupt police officer. His insecurity of being overshadowed by Naseeruddin is evident and palpable in several scenes in the film.
Another disappointment was that the film was far ahead of the script. The storyline contained logical fallacies and dissonance in the narrative. Cinematically however, the film was stellar. Beautiful shots, with bleak backdrops, great camera work, the lighting was pristine, the editing immaculate. I felt a certain sense of shame upon leaving the theatre, feeling sympathetic towards those who shot it. It was self evident to anyone that the cinematic work of the film was far more intelligent than the script.
The background score was hybrid between western thriller tempos with carefully crafted Indian undertones. The packaging, the way the feature was cut, shot in symphony with the music, carefully enhancing the tone and the compounding rhythm of an urgent yet mystical suspense; went in tandem with the burning contempt and vengeance the protagonist John Day had roiling in his heart, tainted by treachery and deceit.
The film is textured close to the “film-noir” adaptations, crafted by the pioneers of stylized cinema Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, who seem to be inspirations of the director. This is evident in Solomon’s use of violence and dark imagery, in an almost satirical manner. Of course the depth of his characters and strength of his story does not match up to the Goliaths of the west. Even so we believe that it is worth a watch, and the support of experimental cinema will only take our cinema forward. Remember, that you control the market by paying for the kind of cinema that you want to see. The next step: use this as a euphemism to change the way the country is run.